We need to talk about the desirability politics of this season of #BBNaija

Kidd and Erica

By Yetunde Oyelami


There’s a proverb that says that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This statement is incorrect when it comes to the attractiveness of the faces. There’s no way around it. You’re better off looking attractive in this country. At all ages and in all walks of life, attractive people are judged more favorably and better treated. The mothers give beautiful babies more love. Teachers prefer and judge more attractive students as cleverer. Attractive adults get more paid for their work and have better dating and matching successes. Juries are less likely to consider beautiful people guilty, yet when they do, prescribe lighter sentences.

I once went for an interview and every single person working in that organization was as attractive as a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Long story short, the most attractive person amidst us was chosen for the role.

Many attractive people get more first thoughts from less attractive ones. This is the politics of desirability, the level to which someone is seen as desirable due to mainstream or conventional parameters, such as appealing features, faces, or voices. It also yields significant social outcomes, including benefits to attract people in such far-reaching domains as romance, friendships, family relations, education, work, and criminal justice. Youthfulness, symmetry, averageness, masculinity in men, and femininity in women are physical qualities that increase attractiveness. Positive expressions and behaviors also increase the appraisals of the attractiveness of a person.

The newest edition of Big Brother Naija made this glaring. It has always been that way. That’s why there’s so many triangles this year: the triangle between Erica, Kidd and Laycon, and on the other hand, the triangle between Ozo, Dora and Nengi. There’s still probability that the triangles will soon turn into geometry of shapes. Erica, beauty queen and actress finds Kidd, a billionaire’s son, muscular and light skin, smooth talker, flirt, and entrepreneur; attractive enough to want to give love a try.

And there’s Erica, who has a great friendship and “mental connection” with Laycon, a promising superstar, short and not the society’s idea of attractive. However, she wasn’t interested in taking the relationship any further than the point of friendship. Also, a good number of ladies are attracted to Ozo, Kidd, and Prince above others because of their biceps, height, light skin tone, and a few prospects that they may be financially advantaged.

There is so much effort going on in the media space to change the perspective and representation of what beauty is. But we all know none of the image cleanups will work anytime soon. The attractive people get hitched first and then others follow suit. But honestly, no one should be blamed. The more time you spend on social media, the more you become accustomed to the standards of beauty portrayed everywhere.

Models are attractive, celebrities are attractive. And then, there’s a perception that if you aren’t shaped according to these standards, maybe there’s something wrong with you that needs to be corrected. Hence, to have chiseled abs, you need to spend a reasonable amount of time in the gym. To have a flat tummy and slim waist, you need to use waist trainers and hit the gym too. And if your complexion isn’t fair enough, you can throw in some glowing cream or toning lotions.

The media deals with the phenomenon of attraction, and as long as everyone is trying to use attraction to market their brands, none of the dynamics of what beauty is will truly work. Therefore, men like Laycon will forever be getting friend-zoned except the dynamics of their pocket changes. And men like Kidd will forever get the girls and even though they have playboy tendencies, some ladies will gladly take up the challenge of becoming co-girlfriends.

Indeed, life has never been fair. And it won’t be anytime soon.

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